Subject Tests – Do I need them and if so, when should I take them?

Updated: Apr 13, 2020

Very few schools still require or recommend subject test data. Seven schools broadly require (such as Cornell, MIT, and McGill) and twenty schools recommend (such as Princeton, Berkely, UCLA).

As a rule, if your student is considering applying to a highly selective school think of Subject Tests as application bonus points.

Timing – Because AP exam and Subject Test content is similar, students should schedule Subject Tests as they are actively preparing for or have completed their AP work.

Math Level 1 vs Math Level 2? – Consider Math 1 for the student who did well in Pre-Calc, however is not necessarily top-notch skilled. On the other hand, students finishing Calc AB or BC and heading towards STEM majors should consider Math 2.

Bio-Ecological or Bio-Molecular? – Ordinarily, the former is typically easier for the student. The latter should be considered if the student is performing very well in Biology

Avoid Misteps! – AP Euro does not prepare a student for the World History subject test.

Language Tests? November or May/June?

The November subject tests fluency and knowledge, not grammar. Similar to the declining popularity of Math 1, this subject test is also declining as it is often taken by foreign speakers.

In contrast, the May and June subject tests review knowledge and literature.

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